You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?

Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Mitchell S. Jackson — Notes from the Other America

In the 1980's, Northeast Portland was a black neighborhood hustling to survive. Today, it's full of pilates studios and handlebar moustaches. As a writer, professor, and former inmate, Mitchell S. Jackson has lived in and learned from both worlds. In SURVIVAL MATH, he puts the pieces together.

Think Again Podcasts
  • An open letter to Markus, the first black American to live—and immediately die—on Oregon soil.
  • "Nobody gets a pass. And everybody gets a pass. If you take a broad look at anyone's circumstances, it's hard to convict them of just being a terrible person."
  • "Portland's a utopia now…but I wonder if they know what it cost?"


Mitchell and Jason in-studio, taken by Mitchell's son, Jayden

We're all living inside concentric circles of private and public, inner and outer. From the time we're small we start to understand that these circles aren't always friendly to one another. There's friction at their borders. The stuffed bunny that keeps your heart whole gets you tormented at school. The people you love most don't look or sound like the cool people on TV. And neither do you. This is true to some extent for all of us, but if you're growing up black in the other America—the one where everyday life is full of the kinds of experiences that keep cable news commentators shaking their heads 24/7—the friction is something else entirely. Can you own your own life—the places and the people you love—while striving to be part of a world that created the conditions it judges them for? Can you live in both places at once?

These are some of the questions at the heart of the project that is SURVIVAL MATH: NOTES ON AN ALL-AMERICAN FAMILY. In these lyrical and meticulous essays, Mitchell S. Jackson tries to wrap his mind around his own coming of age in Portland, looking with relentless honestyand above all, love—at the frictions at the heart of his America, his family, and himself.

Surprise conversation starters in this episode:

Kevin Zollman on game theory and scientific truth

Sean McFate on the billionaire-led future

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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  • "We think of ourselves as this surface species. Of builders. But we are a species of burrowers and borers. And we are leaving warrens behind us that dwarf any ant's nest…"
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  • "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
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  • "Our feet take us from place to place. A place is a dot and the path between places is a relation. And if you think about thought, it's the same."
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